With the passing of legendary designer Hubert de Givenchy earlier this month, I couldn’t help but immerse myself in reviewing and admiring his work yet again. As a long-time devotee of Audrey Hepburn’s style, his most iconic works are immediately and intimately familiar: both LBD’s from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the embroidered gown from Sabrina (and the film’s own LBD as well!), the red gown from Funny Face. The lace ensemble from How To Steal A Million is one of my personal favorites; it is achingly chic and so impactful! But he designed so much more than just dresses! Jackie Kennedy’s tweed suit during her 1961 visit to Paris, Audrey’s beautifully tailored overcoats in Charade, the ruffle-sleeved white blouse made famous by model Bettina -which would look perfectly at home in today’s style guides, paired with blue denim – were all his creations as well. Hepburn and Givenchy were lifelong friends and their collaborations – both on film and off – serve as a curated guide to his sophisticated vision: simplicity (also a defining characteristic of Hepburn’s fashion sense), boldly drawn shapes, and femininity - whether achieved through tailoring or embellishment. Although he retired as head of his eponymous fashion house in 1995, Givenchy never stopped sketching designs (by hand, with colored pencils). I love the idea of this incredible artist, dreaming away as ever, never giving up on his creativity!
All this binge-imaging naturally got me thinking about outfits that would fall into this genre :). The first that I wanted to explore was embroidery, famously seen in both the Sabrina dress (which actually was made by Edith Head and the dressmakers at Paramount, from Givenchy’s design based on the ‘ Inez de Castro’ dress from his 1953 Spring/Summer collection), and the gown worn by Jackie Kennedy to Versailles when meeting President Charles de Gaulle during her Paris tour. For Givenchy, the embroidery acted as the standout touch, the coup de grace of an otherwise edited look. I re-envisioned the concept in a less formal way – with pants, instead of gowns. A skirt would work perfectly, as well! I also leaned toward matchy-ier selections for an iconic vibe, rather than more off-beat and modern choices. Start with whatever embroidered piece you have and consider it your focal point. Then, add pieces around it that are intentionally simple: layer a basic black tee beneath an embroidered blouse. Add black suit pants with a straight silhouette. Finish the look with plain black flats. Keep jewelry spare, but add a polished bun to reinforce the classic chic feel. Alternatively, combine an embroidered sweater or sweatshirt with slim capri or cropped chinos or ponte pants (the fabric adds subtle, but important, elevation; resist the temptation to reach for leggings :)). Finish with pointed flats or ballets, either plain or with understated embellishments – yes to bows or buckles, no to gems and sequins), stud earrings and a sleek low pony. If you’re going with an embroidered skirt, reverse the concept and go with super-simple pieces on top: a fully-tucked, plain sweater or an unembellished button-down. Same concepts apply regarding refined hairstyles and minimal jewelry :). I hope this inspires you to try some Givenchy-esque embroidery in your looks! Happy styling :)
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, the home of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.